The membership of the National Atheist Party (NAP) has completed voting and announces name change.
After 2 days of voting in the 2nd policy proposal process for 2013 that began at midnight EST July 11, 6 issues relevant to the NAP were voted upon, one of which was a revival to change the name of the Party. Surpassing the necessary 75% "super majority," 77.6% of members that participated in the National Atheist Party's latest election voted to officially change its name to the "Secular Party of America." In issues that relate to what are considered "core" values like the Party's name and mission statement, a 75% "super majority" is needed as opposed to the 66% needed for basic changes like voting in new officers.
Originally formed in 2011 by Troy Boyle and Mark Smith as the "Freethought Party," the early membership decided that "was not an honest or meaningful representation of what they hoped to achieve." By vote of the membership the name officially became the "National Atheist Party" on March 11th, 2011. It remained so even after a strong challenge to the name in the 1st election cycle of 2013 in March, the same month as their annual convention which took place this year in San Francisco, and proposed by atheist, activist, evolutionist, YouTube personality, and one of the speakers at the convention, Aron Ra, and former Executive Board member and Vice President of Outreach for the NAP, as well as one of its original members, Jacob Kramer. The proposed change to "American Secular Party" narrowly missed the necessary super majority of 75% by a little over 5%.
The issue was raised again and proposed in the latest election cycle by Executive Board member and former Treasurer, who is now the VP of Public Relations and Marketing, Bernard "Flash" Kellish, who said, "I would like to thank all who voted, and my deepest thanks to all those who saw the vision and helped make this a reality. We had a great team of talented volunteers who besides their personal lives, jobs, and work with the NAP, spent even more of their time putting together and promoting this campaign. We are certain that not only is the new name far more inclusive of a greater number of Americans that share our vision of true separation of church and state, but that it will open the door to those that may not have joined us if for no other reason than because "Atheist" was in the name. We were created by atheists as a way to be a hereunto unrepresented voice in politics and have been very successful. We will miss the old name but now it is time to move forward and focus on being a viable and respected political party. We hope to make a worldwide network of secular organizations."
This vision and that of the proposed Secular Party of America was also shared and supported by the Secular Party of Australia and its President Dr. John Perkins who said, "We support the NAP name change to 'Secular Party of America.' Being atheist is nothing to be ashamed of, but secular more accurately describes the political agenda of an atheist-minded political party."
Another advocate of the name change was Secular Scotland and Chairperson Caroline Lynch who had this to say in support, "Secularism is a political stance; it groups together people of every race and creed who believe in democracy and freedom and wish to fight for a common cause. It will unite where atheism divides, include where atheism excludes, and yet still allow for diversity of views and beliefs."
The new Secular Party of America will retain the motto of the NAP, "From Diversity and Reason, Unity" as well as all other aspects of its charter. The name change as well as the other issues that passed will go into effect by August 1st, 2013.
The National Atheist Party is a Constitutional movement with over 3100 members and chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, dedicated to the preservation of the Founding Fathers' vision of a secular nation. They are a progressive secular political group whose current incarnation is as a non-profit 527 organization. As they grow and evolve, they intend and expect to develop into a full-fledged political party and continue to be devoted to issue advocacy as well as guided by the values of secular humanism and evidenced-based reasoning. The party seeks to politically represent not only atheists, but all who share the goal of a secular government by gathering the political strength of secularists nation and worldwide. To learn more about the Party, visit www.usanap.org.